Illustration copyright by Duncan Long
Juggernaut

By John Gerner

 

I built me a juggernaut, one meter high,
from toys in my box and dreams in my head,
to battle the bully who teases and hurts.
Who laughs when he sees it, creaking and crawling,
then kicks in its belly. Crunch, crunch.
But his boots are engulfed by their new rightful owner,
and so is the rest of him.
But what can I do?
I, the scrawny kid with the big words.
What can I do to stop the merger?

 

I built me a juggernaut, ten meters high,
for muscle and gristle are the secret ingredients it needs to thrive.
And still, it hungers for more,
becoming a menace to society.
So they attack, meat inside metal,
but it grabs them and shakes them like bees in a can.
Rattle, rattle, rattle, until the buzzing stops,
and they're incorporated.
I would have told them that, but they never ask me.
Why would they ask the scrawny kid with the big words?

 

I built me a juggernaut, one hundred meters high.
They look for the brain, but the brain is everywhere.
There's brains in the arms, brains in the legs.
The brain in one finger thinks it's free, and is proud of its motion.
But I know better. Who am I?
Just the scrawny kid with the big words.
Then they set off the bomb.
They shouldn't have done that.
They gave it supreme power,
and now they're all gone.

 

I built me a juggernaut, one thousand meters high.
The ground shakes when it walks, but still it's not happy.
Its fingers, unreaching, began to entwine.
Its brains, unfocused, began to decay.
But it leaves me alone,
why would it bother the scrawny kid with the big words?
So, in thanks, I point to the sun blazing down from above.
It smiles, howls, beats its mighty chest, and jumps.
But gravity yanks it back into the ground.
Higher and higher, lower and lower, until it's swallowed by the
earth.

 

Now I spend my days in the shade of an old cypress tree.
And I am happy,
though I know.
The plants are afraid of me.

 

Poetry copyright © 1998 John Gerner <jgerner@richmond.infi.net>

Artwork copyright © 1998 Duncan Long <duncan@kansas.net>

 


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